Decisions: The Rosenberg Myth

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With gentler scorn, Judge Weinfeld pointed out that the Government was not required to prove that the espionage agents had "achieved perfection" by stealing all specifications for mass-scale bomb production. Such standards were "irrelevant" to the case, Weinfeld said. Greenglass was merely out "to get what he could"; his success was proved by the scientists' own affidavits, which described his version of the bomb as "correct in its most vague and general aspects." In 1945 that was plenty.

As for Gold's story, Sobell's lawyers claimed that he never met Greenglass when he said he did. They said Gold's hotel registration card was forged (supposedly by the FBI). Wholly unproved, ruled Judge Weinfeld, quietly noting that Sobell's petition contained no affidavit from the one person who knows the facts—the still available room clerk who presumably handled the card.

Finally, the Sobell petition claimed that the Government suppressed recordings of 1950 interviews between Gold and his lawyer, which might have revealed perjury in his story of the Greenglass meeting. Such suppression, said Weinfeld, was impossible. Because the recordings were protected by the "lawyer-client privilege," they were not even given to the FBI until 21 years after the trial. Moreover, said the judge, "a careful reading of the transcripts of the recordings and all other material, rather than supporting petitioner's charges, strongly corroborates Gold's trial testimony." In short, ruled Weinfeld, Sobell has nothing to complain about. "No act or conduct on the part of the Government deprived him of a fundamentally fair trial."

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